BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Environment minister Priscah Mupfumira has challenged small-scale miners to preserve the environment they operated in to safeguard the future of their operations.
Addressing an Environment Management Agency (EMA) small-scale miners meeting in Kadoma yesterday, Mupfumira said artisanal miners should safeguard the environment and stop land degradation.
“While we all want gold as a country, we must be sensitive to our environment and ensure that the future is safe. As you mine, you must know that you are not the last generation to live here. Wherever you are, you must allow EMA officials to inspect your environment so that you operate in safe places,” she said.
The event was co-hosted by EMA and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).
Mupfumira said it was illegal for smal-scale miners to operate without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates issued by EMA.
ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said preservation of the environment by small-scale miners was paramount for the sustainability of the sector, which contributes more than 60% of the country’s gold output.
“From the periods 2016-2018, the artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector has been producing more than the primary producers, who are the large-scale miners. In 2018, the small-scale sector produced 22 tonnes of the 35 tonnes produced, making it 65%.
This is highly applauded by government and is an indicator that the sector plays a pivotal role in the mainstream economy,” Rushwaya said.
“Small-scale mining is characterised by both legal and illegal miners, with the high number of illegal miners being (found) in the small-scale artisanal (mining sector).
However, the government has recognised that the sector is contributing more than 60% of the gold delivered and recorded at Fidelity (Printers and Refiners) and, as such, the sector has the potential to stimulate economic growth and increase in the gross domestic product.”
ZMF, however, said the costs of EMA-registered EIA consultants were prohibitive and beyond the reach of small-scale miners.